There’s always been this certain stereotype that people who write in journals are dorks, but here’s why keeping a journal is actually a pretty cool thing.

1. It helps clear your mind.

Whenever I have trouble studying or sleeping, it’s usually because my mind is busy visualizing random scenarios, old memories, or even stressful problems. In these cases, I turn to my journal. Writing all my thoughts out helps clear my head because it makes me feel like I have solved my problems. It also removes those random images from my mind, allowing me to either focus on my work or sleep. The next time you’re having trouble focusing or sleeping, I suggest you write for a little bit.

2. It helps relieve stress.

Writing your thoughts down can help lift some weight off your shoulders because, like I said before, when you write down your problem, it makes you feel like you’ve somewhat solved it. Also, since writing helps clear your mind, you won’t think about your problems as much. Don’t get me wrong, though, I’m not encouraging you to run away from your problems; it’s just that people often over-analyze things in their life, making them seem bigger than they actually are. Writing them down will help you realize that these things might not be as big as you originally thought.

3. It’s something to look back on.

You don’t just have to write “the bad” down. You should write about everything, good and bad. It’s nice to look back to see what you’ve accomplished over time, what struggles you’ve overcome, how you’ve grown as a person, and all the memories you’ve shared with your friends and family. It’s also really funny to look back and see what your younger self thought was a huge deal years ago.

4. It’s better than sharing too much on social media.

This generation LOVES to show the world what their ENTIRE life is like. However, as we all know, private life should be kept private; if you’re always tempted to share something on social media that you probably shouldn’t, a journal will become your best friend.

5. You can make it unique to fit your personality.

Whenever I look at my journal, it makes me happy. Why? Because I’ve decorated the outside of it with things that I like; I cut out A LOT of different pictures from magazines, making the front and back cover a collage. Designing your journal makes it one of a kind and helps you enjoy writing in it even more!

Hadia Nabulsi is currently a sophomore at Illinois State University, where she studies Elementary Education and is involved in many organizations on campus. Feel free to connect with her on twitter at @hadia_nabulsi.